The Book of Hallowe'en/Four Poems

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           HALLOWE'EN

    Bring forth the raisins and the nuts--
    To-night All-Hallows' Spectre struts
        Along the moonlit way.
    No time is this for tear or sob,
    Or other woes our joys to rob,
    But time for Pippin and for Bob,
        And Jack-o'-lantern gay.

    Come forth, ye lass and trousered kid,
    From prisoned mischief raise the lid,
        And lift it good and high.
    Leave grave old Wisdom in the lurch,
    Set Folly on a lofty perch,
    Nor fear the awesome rod of birch
        When dawn illumes the sky.

    'Tis night for revel, set apart
    To reillume the darkened heart,
        And rout the hosts of Dole.
    'Tis night when Goblin, Elf, and Fay,
    Come dancing in their best array
    To prank and royster on the way,
        And ease the troubled soul.

    The ghosts of all things, past parade,
    Emerging from the mist and shade
        That hid them from our gaze,
    And full of song and ringing mirth,
    In one glad moment of rebirth,
    Again they walk the ways of earth,
        As in the ancient days.

    The beacon light shines on the hill,
    The will-o'-wisps the forests fill
        With flashes filched from noon;
    And witches on their broomsticks spry
    Speed here and yonder in the sky,
    And lift their strident voices high
        Unto the Hunter's moon.

    The air resounds with tuneful notes
    From myriads of straining throats,
        All hailing Folly Queen;
    So join the swelling choral throng,
    Forget your sorrow and your wrong,
    In one glad hour of joyous song
        To honor Hallowe'en.

       J. K. BANGS in Harper's Weekly, Nov. 5, 1910.

        HALLOWE'EN FAILURE

    Who's dat peekin' in de do'?
        Set mah heart a-beatin'!
    Thought I see' a spook for sho
        On mah way to meetin'.
    Heerd a rustlin' all aroun',
        Trees all sort o' jiggled;
    An' along de frosty groun'
        Funny shadders wriggled.

    Who's dat by de winder-sill?
        Gittin' sort o' skeery;
    Feets is feelin' kind o' chill,
        Eyes is sort o' teary.
    'Most as nervous as a coon
        When de dawgs is barkin',
    Er a widder when some spoon
        Comes along a-sparkin'.

    Whass dat creepin' up de road,
        Quiet like a ferret,
    Hoppin' sof'ly as a toad?
        Maybe hit's a sperrit!
    Lordy! hope dey ain't no ghos'
        Come to tell me howdy.
    I ain't got no use for those
        Fantoms damp an' cloudy.

    Whass dat standin' by de fence
        Wid its eyes a-yearnin',
    Drivin' out mah common-sense
        Wid its glances burnin'?
    Don't dass skeercely go to bed
        Wid dem spookses roun' me.
    Ain't no res' fo' dis yere head
        When dem folks surroun' me.

    Whass dat groanin' soun' I hear
        Off dar by de gyardin?
    Lordy! Lordy! Lordy dear,
        Grant dis sinner pardon!
    I won't nebber--I declar'
        Ef it ain't my Sammy!
    Sambo, what yo' doin' dar?
        Yo' can't skeer yo' mammy!

       CARLYLE SMITH in Harper's Weekly, Oct. 29, 1910.

            HALLOWE'EN

    Pixie, kobold, elf, and sprite
    All are on their rounds to-night,--
      In the wan moon's silver ray
      Thrives their helter-skelter play.

    Fond of cellar, barn, or stack
    True unto the almanac,
      They present to credulous eyes
      Strange hobgoblin mysteries.

    Cabbage-stumps--straws wet with dew--
    Apple-skins, and chestnuts too,
      And a mirror for some lass
      Show what wonders come to pass.

    Doors they move, and gates they hide
    Mischiefs that on moonbeams ride
      Are their deeds,--and, by their spells,
      Love records its oracles.

    Don't we all, of long ago
    By the ruddy fireplace glow,
      In the kitchen and the hall,
      Those queer, coof-like pranks recall?

    Eery shadows were they then--
    But to-night they come again;
      Were we once more but sixteen
      Precious would be Hallowe'en.

       JOEL BENTON in Harper's Weekly, Oct. 31, 1896.


           HALLOWE'EN

    A gypsy flame is on the hearth,
    Sign of this carnival of mirth.
      Through the dun fields and from the glade
      Flash merry folk in masquerade--
        It is the witching Hallowe'en.

    Pale tapers glimmer in the sky,
    The dead and dying leaves go by;
      Dimly across the faded green
      Strange shadows, stranger shades, are seen--
        It is the mystic Hallowe'en.

    Soft gusts of love and memory
    Beat at the heart reproachfully;
      The lights that burn for those who die
      Were flickering low, let them flare high--
        It is the haunting Hallowe'en.

       A. F. MURRAY in Harper's Weekly, Oct. 30, 1909.